Handheld software sales tripled in 2001

Retail sales of handheld software tripled in 2001 compared with the previous year, indicating that users are becoming more aware...

Retail sales of handheld software tripled in 2001 compared with the previous year, indicating that users are becoming more aware of the broad variety of software available and are looking to tailor their handhelds to fit their needs, according to PalmSource.

The operating system subsidiary of handheld maker Palm cited a recent study by market researcher NPDTechworld that reported that handheld software sales climbed from 225,000 titles sold in 2,000 to 900,000 titles sold in 2001. The study measured software sold in retail outlets and did not include online software sales, which make up a large part of overall handheld software sales.

Business applications, games and document readers featured regularly on shopping lists but niche programs, on subjects such as wine and gardening, also peaked user interest, PalmSource said.

"What we find really gratifying is that as handhelds mature, people are basically adopting them into their lives," said PalmSource chief competitive officer Michael Mace.

There are currently more than 13,000 PalmSource applications available and that number is constantly growing, Mace said.

He predicted, however, that the big boom in handheld software growth still lies ahead, when handhelds will eventually outnumber PCs.

Meanwhile, the company is gearing up for its European developers forum which includes two-day conferences in Berlin, Paris and London. PalmSource said that it has more than 44,000 members of the Palm OS development community in Europe.

With Europe's advanced cell phone infrastructure, European Palm OS developers are expected to focus on more wireless applications, according to Mace.

There should still be a program for everyone, however, as handheld software's success seems to be based on its sheer variety, Mace noted.

"The killer app is different for everyone," said Mace. "One size fits one."

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